Monday, June 14, 2010
Thoughts at the ice cream shop
I took Janey for ice cream after school today, partly as a treat for going back to school and partly to keep her out of the house so Tony could fully concentrate on the World Cup match with Italy playing. As I sat watching her eat her big bowl of chocolate chip, lots of other kids came in and got ice cream. I had some moments of just being very proud of who Janey is. Although I wish more than anything she could talk more, be "normal" more, socialize more, the kids that were there that day made me think that she's got some pretty good points. First a couple of bratty little boys came in with their snobby looking mother. She ordered them junior cones---they screamed because they didn't want a kids size. They said they wanted strawberry, and as the scooper began scooping, they decided they wanted to know all the flavors. Mama had them read them all themselves, although it took forever, surely to impress us all that her kids who appeared about 4 and 6 could read. Finally they picked a flavor, and then had a fit again about the size, freaked over the wrong kind of cone and finally took the ice cream with nary a thank you to the scooper or their mother. I thought about how Janey was happy to be there, happy to have ice cream of any size, the flavor I picked for her, happy although she didn't have options. I wish she could pick. But seeing them, I realized being able to pick, and talk, and read, and argue, didn't necessarily make them too happy (or pleasant). Then a man came in with a girl that looked just about Janey's age. She didn't want ice cream at all. She wanted to stand in the door and let the AC out, to run out toward the street despite her father saying no over and over, to put her grimy hands on the window despite the owner asking her not to, to generally make everyone in the place annoyed. Another girl that seemed bright, seemed "normal" but wasn't happy or making anyone else happy. I know a few days ago Janey would have been screaming. But a few days ago, I would not have taken her in public for ice cream. I know better---she wouldn't enjoy it, I wouldn't enjoy it, no-one in the place would enjoy it. However, those "normal" kids weren't enjoying themselves or letting others enjoy themselves either (except Janey, who engrossed in her ice cream didn't even notice them). I don't know what the conclusion is here. I guess it's partly a reminder to me---be grateful that Janey can eat, can walk, can have happy moments. Don't always feel envy for others with more standard kids. Sometimes, I'm the one proud in the ice cream shop.